The dismissal of Hanner Mosquera-Perea earlier this spring left Indiana scrambling for another big man to play behind highly touted incoming freshman Thomas Bryant.
The Hoosiers solved that problem Tuesday night by adding a player very familiar with the rigors of a Big Ten schedule.
Former Michigan big man Max Bielfeldt committed to Indiana, selecting the Hoosiers over Nebraska and Iowa State. The 6-foot-8 graduate transfer will have one year of eligibility remaining and will be able to play immediately.
A career backup at Michigan, Bielfeldt earned playing time with all-out hustle and solid defense last season, averaging 5.1 points and 3.6 rebounds in 14.5 minutes per game. He chose to transfer when John Beilein could not guarantee him a scholarship for a post-graduate season because the Wolverines were saving it for elite prospect Jaylen Brown or several other potential recruiting targets.
Transfer haven Iowa State was thought to be a strong contender to land Bielfeldt before coach Fred Hoiberg left for the Chicago Bulls. That left Indiana in the driver's seat as Nebraska could offer more playing time but is not in a position to contend for an upper-tier Big Ten finish next season.
Bielfeldt will likely compete with rising sophomore Emmitt Holt to be the first big man off the bench for the frontcourt-bereft Hoosiers next season. Indiana will undoubtedly start three guards again with perimeter standout Troy Williams seeing a lot of time at power forward.
It will be interesting to see the reaction Bielfeldt receives when Indiana plays at Michigan next season. He gave his all for the Wolverines for four years, but now he'll be wearing rival colors.